Sunday, November 8, 2009

Inexcusable

After the Thursday night win over San Antonio, I was ready to deliver a complimentary post on TCG regarding the Jazz and thier win. I never found time to post on Friday, due to work and other obligations. So... I decided to wait and see how we performed at home against bottom-feeder Sacramento (believing that this would be an automatic win)... and all the sudden... this happened! Wow!

The reactionary and impressionable Jazz fan in me is about ready to explode inside! This loss is inexcusable. Unpardonable. Sacramento is arguably the worst team in the NBA. They were playing without their star player Kevin Martin. There was no reason in the world to lose at home to the Kings.

This inevitably has led me to think about what's wrong with this team... the Jazz. If there was ever a sign that something was wrong in Jazzland (which we've all been presuming), it was most definitely THIS moment... a loss at home to the Kings. I know the season is young (just started in fact)... there are still plenty of games to play... But, we've started a trend that is downright unhealthy, undisciplined, and unspeakable. Here are some potential reasons as to why it's happening:

1. Lack of Leadership
Harpring is gone. Perhaps the only reason Harpring was on the team was because he was a stalwart leader and example of discipline/hard work. We don't have any leaders. I believe Deron is trying, but Boozer, Memo and AK are NOT leaders. These guys aren't stars either.

2. No Defense
We knew we were bad defensively but... boy... we're really bad. Our bigs are flat-footed and slow. We're completely unmotivated to play defense.

3. Terrible Personnel Mix
On paper, Kevin O'Connor has put together a lethal combination of talent for the Jazz. However, on the floor, I believe we have a dreadful combination of non-melding talent. We have too many "me-first" players. We need more hustlers like the Rockets. We have no shooters. Memo, our center, is the best shooter on the team... which says a lot. To make matters worse, our top paid performers aren't motivated and consistent enough to carry the team (Boozer, AK, Millsap & Memo). Deron can't seem to bring them all together (not his fault... tough task), nor do it by himself... which he tried to do (29 & 15 last night, despite losing).

4. Jerry Sloan
He's lost his edge. It comes with the territory of getting older. I don't think he's able to motivate these players like he used to. It's a different generation... a different animal. Only Deron Williams seems to be able to motivate himself for every game like Stockton and Malone used to do. The others struggle to get going. The coach's job in the NBA is to manage egos and motivate players. I don't think it's happening with this bunch.

5. The Loss of Larry Miller
Larry was a fiery and interactive owner. He showed his passion towards the team, often going into the locker room and berating the team if they didn't play up to their potential. I think we miss his presence and his passion.

I suppose there are a few silver linings to this lousy season start...
- Wes Matthews is an absolute revelation. Talk about draft day steal... Wait a second, we wasn't even drafted! And yet, he's putting up some impressive performances. Kudos to Wes.
- Fesenko is playing some meaningful minutes for us. It's good to see him play to his size & strength while helping the team on defense and in the post.
- Brewer and Memo seem to be giving good effort and quality contributions. Despite injuries, Memo still provides us with shooting.
- I suppose if we kept losing, the lottery might not be a bad place to reside afterall... We could possess two lottery picks next summer when all is said and done. And hopefully... blow this thing up & start over!

11 comments:

Torrey ellis said...

Great post Guru.

Two lottery picks, lose Boozer, and bring someone in with the money we will get from losing AK the next season and see if we can convince Deron to stay.

Can we beat the Knicks tomorrow?

Pasty Gangsta said...

Crotty Kid and I took in this game together, and the full extent of our problems definitely sunk in. It's little things that don't even show up in the box score but do when you watch the game. . . like Brewer airballing a free throw and then the Kings coming right down the floor and Spencer Hawes (!) getting a wide open dunk out of their half court set.

We just don't gel. We could lose any single player on the team besides Williams for the rest of the season and I'm not sure it would have a material impact. . . and that's a problem.

We'll probably rebound some and wind up around .500, but boy, we're not going to be much better than that. Great call on Sloan too, Guru. He just isn't the right coach any more. I'm all for loyalty but this just isn't working.

Who knew the Jazz were going to become one of those over the salary cap teams that doesn't play defense or win easy games at home? Very, very difficult to watch.

Booner said...

I am not one to get too excited about 2 lottery picks. Remember, it is a lottery. It is a risk. If you review NBA draft history, there are tons of lottery picks who are either (i) mediocre NBA role players, or (ii) not in the NBA anymore.

I would much rather be a competitive bottom-tier playoff team than a lottery team. The lottery just doesnt seem to pull teams up (except for rare occasions, such as the Spurs and Duncan, the Cavs and LeBron, etc.)

We are in trouble if we are hoping for the lottery to save us.

Big Trouble!

Pasty Gangsta said...

Booner, did you attend Saturday night's debacle in person? If so, what were your thoughts?

Booner said...

I did not attend . . . Thanks be to God.

The Crotty Kid said...

The Jazz are in trouble. We are not contending this year, but I do expect we'll trip into the playoffs.

But I completely agree with Booner - the lottery is not a savior. Ask the Warriors how picking between 5-7 every year works out. You end up with some athletic head cases (Anthony Randolph) and above average defensive centers (Biedrins), but the magic bullet cures are all gone by the time the second or third team has picked. Let's hope the Knicks continue to tank, but picking 10th with out own pick is not something to hope for.

Pasty Gangsta said...

Let us not forget we picked up Deron Williams in the lottery. It's not always a savior, but it's certainly better than picking 21st.

That being said, I'd prefer that we only have one lottery pick this year, and that it be the Knicks pick, and that it be top three. Which by the way, is about where they're headed as they're 1-6 on the year. . . let's hope we make it 1-7 tonight.

Draft Guru said...

The bigger issue isn't whether we'll be in the lottery or not... It's trying to justify paying incredible sums of money to players that aren't getting the job done. Talk about risky!... We're putting our franchise viability at stake in an economy like this one with the amounts of payroll & tax we're paying. I'm not the owner... but if I were... I'd blow this team up ASAP. We need to extract payroll. And if we don't... and we keep on losing... we may not have a franchise in Utah much longer.

Pasty Gangsta said...

Amen. Our payroll is way out of line with our on the court results right now.

Booner said...

Some fun stats going into Madison Square Garden tonight:

1) Going back to last season, the Jazz have last 11 of their last 12 road games, including the last 8 in a row.

2) The last time the Jazz beat the Knicks at MSG was 2004. They haven't won there in 5 years, 5 tries.

Woooooooooof.

The Crotty Kid said...

Guru-

I agree that the salary situation is bad. In the end, there is little we can do about it this year.

But we get a ton of relief next year (Boozer + Korver + Harpring). The next year, the worst max contract in Utah Jazz history comes off the books. So, in two years we will have Deron/Millsap/Okur and a bunch of small contracts. That's a good spot to be in.